I am in the middle of my third novel. And frankly, I can’t think of the first pleasure of writing, let alone any unexpected ones. Because right now, I just want to run naked out into my field, amongst the cows, coyotes and raccoons, screaming “these characters are making me crazy! Aaaggghhhhh!!!” But alas, the hubs may call the paddy wagon..or he may join me. Who knows?
But…in the end, I know I will be rewarded when the book is done. For instance, I didn’t realize just how satisfying it would be to finish writing a novel. I’m the girl that paints half the bathroom then walks away because there’s a more interesting project to tackle in the kitchen. Then, when I abandon the kitchen project, there’s something to work on in the garden. The garden project will inevitably be too hot, too dirty, too something and eventually lead me to a squeaky board on the deck that needs my attention. And so on and so on. Boredom is the kiss of death for me. (Good thing the hubs of 37 years always has something interesting to say) I’m not a finisher…I’m a starter. So just typing “The End” on the last page of my first book made me moonwalk for two weeks.
Another hidden gem of writing a novel comes from the people around you. They are amazed. (Especially the ones who really know you and are quite aware of your attention span.) They act like you’ve done something spectacular, they are awed, they are filled with wonder and admiration. Your mother chases them down in the grocery store to squeeze it into a conversation. “Hello, Mrs. Jones, how are you? I’m sorry your husband passed, did you know my daughter wrote a book!” OMG…the woman just needs some potatoes, Mama! Okay, okay, she isn’t that bad, but you get the picture. People admire your accomplishment, and there’s something both humbling and uplifting about that. I seesaw between embarrassment, because I have never learned how to take a compliment, and genuine gratitude for their comments. It’s a lovely feeling. They mean what they are saying. Enjoy their words, you deserve them.
But the best thing and the most unexpected thing about this business are the people you meet along the way. Even the editors. LOL. I have met the nicest, most helpful, most compassionate people because of my books. Be it publishers, my agent, independent booksellers, fans, even some of those folks that leave less than stellar reviews have all taught me something. They encourage, they push, they inspire, they annoy and they force you to grow, as a writer and as a human. Besides, we never know the sweetness of pleasure until we know the bitterness of pain. I owe these people, all of these people, for making me look at my craft with fresh eyes. And I like what I see. What could bring more pleasure than that?
THE SWEET SMELL OF MAGNOLIAS AND MEMORIES, CELESTE FLETCHER
“There’s no time,” Colin said. “You have to go. Find me, call me . . .”
Jacey and Colin shared the three most intense days of their lives together, waiting for help as Mississippi floodwaters surrounded them. Jacey knew Colin was the love of her life—until her rescue boat went under water, along with Colin’s last name and pieces of Jacey’s memory.
The last thing she remembered was being submerged in water. Again.
As Jacey walks down the aisle as the maid of honor in her friend’s wedding a year later, the last person she expects to see is Colin. The biggest surprise, though, is that the man of her dreams is not wearing jeans and flip-flops as he did when he held her through those long nights of the flood. He’s the preacher.
As Jacey’s memories come flooding back, it’s almost more than she can take. The fate of the young family trapped with them haunts her. The unwavering honesty—and support—of her best friend Georgia forces her to take a fresh look at herself. She’s spent her life afraid of love. But this flood is opening Jacey’s heart in the most unexpected ways.
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